Bridgerton and Georgian Entertainment

Venanzio Rauzzini, Fanny Burney, and Mr Foote are figures who come up in today's Free Thinking discussion as the hit period drama Bridgerton returns to Netflix for a second series and Shahidha Bari explores what kept the Georgians entertained, from a night at the opera to music lessons at home, strolls in the pleasure gardens, hot air balloons, chess playing Turks, and perhaps most of all - if Lady Whistledown is to be believed - gossip, intrigue, and scandal. Just what is it about the Georgians that we find so enduringly entertaining? Shahidha’s guests are:
musicologist Brianna Robertson-Kirkland who has written a new book about Venanzio Rauzzini, a scandal ridden Italian castrato revered by Mozart who fled the continent to become one of Georgian England’s most celebrated singing teachers and a musical figurehead in the city of Bath.
Writer and New Generation Thinker Sophie Coulombeau who has researched Georgian novelist Frances Burney and bluestocking socialite Mary Hamilton. Biographer, playwright and actor Ian Kelly who has played George III in his own play Mr Foote’s Other Leg. And History Film Club podcast presenter Hannah Greig whose credits as a historical consultant in TV and film include The Duchess, Sanditon, and Bridgerton.

Producer: Ruth Thomson

Image: Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton
Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

You might also be interested in previous conversations on Free Thinking exploring
Harlots and 18th-century working women https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rdfz
Samuel Johnson's Circle https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000vq3w
The Value of Gossip https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fwfb
18th century crime and punishment https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040hysp